The most difficult part of blogging is having the discipline to sit down and start writing, especially when there is already a seemingly endless to-do list in front of you. Previously, I presented several reasons why small businesses need to be blogging. In this article, I’ve outlined a tried and true process for writing blogs and a basic list of blogging best practices. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped to start pumping out content.
Blogging Process for Small Businesses
- You first must pick your topic — the more specific the better. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for you to shed a little light on a narrow aspect of your business that doesn’t quite deserve a page of its own on your website. Avoid topics that have been blogged on many times before unless you have a new or better angle from which you’re approaching the topic. If you have an FAQs page, start there. You can usually write an entire blog article around a single FAQ. Also think about the most recent questions a client asked you and jot those down. Keep a running list of blog article ideas to use as inspiration when you sit down to write.
- Once you have your topic, think about the who, what, when, where, why, and how. All of those might not be relevant for every article, but you always need to understand the “who.”
- Divide your article into two to four sections where you explore a different angle of the topic. Those represent your headings. Write the content under each heading, then write your closing paragraph, and then write your introductory paragraph.
- Include a “boilerplate” and the end of each blog article. This is a short paragraph of your business in a nutshell. Most of the text in the boilerplate can stay the same from one article to the next, but tailor it slightly to the topic on which you just wrote. Italicize the boilerplate to distinguish it from the rest of your article.
Small Business Blogging Best Practices
While there are very few “rules” of blogging, there are definitely best practices to follow. Keep these tips in mind as you’re blogging and use them as a checklist when you’re proofreading.
Your blog article should be between 300 and 500 words. If you can’t think of 300 words, consider combining it with another closely related topic. If it’s over 500 words, you could turn it into two blog articles.
Use at least one image, and make the image’s alt attribute the keyword for which you’re optimizing the article. Either use your own images or use images that you have the right to use. We like Pexels and Unsplash for free stock photos.
Optimize for your keyword without “keyword stuffing.” What’s keyword stuffing? Let’s say you’re optimizing for the keyword “tree trimming tactics.” Here’s an example:
At Bob’s Tree Trimming, we know all of the best tree trimming tactics. If you want to know more about tree trimming tactics, you should continue reading this article. By the end of the article, you’ll be a tree trimming tactic expert, and all of your friends will be asking you about all of your favorite tree trimming tactics.
That just sounds awkward, and Google can tell when you’re keyword stuffing. And you bet your bottom dollar that they’ll penalize you for it in your search engine rankings.
Proofread your work before publishing. This may sound like a no-brainer, but far too many blogs out there are littered with typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors. These mistakes cheapen your article and decrease your credibility. If you’re Bob at Bob’s Tree Trimming and someone reads a blog you wrote that’s filled with errors, they might think, “Wow, Bob is sloppy. I don’t want him trimming my trees!”
If you take these blogging best practices into account and follow the blogging process outlined above, you’ll find that starting a blog for your small business doesn’t have to be so daunting after all. What challenges are you facing when it comes to creating engaging content for your blog? Let us know in the comments below!
Olivia Deputy is the Director of Content Marketing at Xponent21. Our company engineers digital experiences that delight, drive revenue, and increase operational efficiency. If you’ve found this article helpful but still need more guidance to get your blog up and running, reach out to us.